Skip to main content

TIFF Preview - Keepers of the Water

with some material from a media release

Keepers of the Water
Directed by Ayelen Liberona
Produced by Joseph Johnson Cami

nominated for Best Emerging Filmmaker & the Public Award at TIFF 2010
TIFF Talent Lab, Emerging Filmmaker Award
Screening & Award Winners announced

September 16, 7:30pm
Bell Lightbox Filmmakers Lounge (134 Peter Street)
note * By invitation only

“We should have a voice, our voice should be heard.”

Twelve year old Robyn is just one of the reasoned and articulate children - all of them between 9 and 12 - who are indeed heard in this 4 minute documentary film. These are the kids of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta who live directly downstream from the world's largest and most environmentally toxic industrial project, the Alberta Tar Sands. I'd argue that the very reason their voices should be heard is the unwavering and unselfconscious directness of their point of view.

"It's a fun place to play." The young narrators are shot talking in their own environment - a play area with monkey bars, the camera follows as they ramble across the snowy fields. For them, the story is one that has
personal impact. "I made dried fish before," remembers a young girl. She describes cutting them open, something that now can bring unexpected results. "They find fish with funny things because the lake is
polluted," she says. "Our water turns yellow. Your fingernails and your toenails go yellow.. orange." They describe the funny red bumps they get from swimming in the water. They remember a time when their parents and grandparents could drink directly from the lake - no more. To a child, the issue is simple, and everyday.

The land in all its frozen wintry beauty is more than a backdrop, it's a kind of character in the film, animated by the energetic preteens as they play and wander across the flatlands. The short film ends with a shot of the smokestacks of Syncrude.

Here's a link with some recent information on the Tar Sands Project

Some other fun facts:
  • Native populations are experiencing increased respiratory diseases, rare cancers and cardiovascular problems, suspected to be caused by toxic substances that have leaked downstream from Tar Sands production.
  • About 90% of the water used to process the Tar Sands ends up in highly toxic tailing ponds that line the Athabasca River and threaten the health of the whole river basin, Canada's largest fresh water resource.
  • Canada has no national water policy and one of the worst records of pollution enforcement of any industrial nation.

The kids have gone on to form a protest group.

Director Ayelen Liberona (pictured) and producer Joseph Johnson Cami previously collaborated on their feature-documentary, A Grain of Sand (2009), which has already helped save from privatization the famed Moyenne Island - worth 50 million dollars. Moyenne Island now enjoys a National Park status in the Seychelles.

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:

POLINA SEMIONOVA TO APPEAR AS GUEST ARTIST
WITH AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
FOR 2011 SPRING SEASON AT METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

Blues/Rock:
The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…